The Latest: Hurricane center director warns of heavy rains
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The Latest on Tropical Storm Barry (all times local):
National Hurricane Center director Ken Graham says people should be concerned even if Barry comes ashore as a tropical storm instead of a hurricane because its slow movement will bring hazardous drenching rain either way.
Speaking Friday, Graham said the storm's slow movement means there'll be more rainfall.
Forecasters say there's still a chance Barry will strengthen to a hurricane for a short time as it comes ashore on the Louisiana coast, where hurricane warnings are in effect. Pockets of Louisiana could get rainfalls as high as 25 inches (63 centimeters).
Tropical Storm Barry is slowly churning off the Louisiana coast as communities from the coast to New Orleans keep a close eye on its predicted path.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Friday morning that the center of the storm was about 95 miles (155 kilometers) southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River and its top winds were blowing at 50 mph (85 kph).
Forecasters stress that the slow movement of the storm is likely to bring a massive drenching, with pockets of Louisiana experiencing rainfalls as high as 25 inches (63 centimeters).
Hurricane warnings are in effect along the Louisiana coast. The storm's center was expected to come ashore late Friday or early Saturday. It could grow into the first hurricane of the Atlantic hurricane season.
Tropical Storm Barry's wind and rain are starting to hit Louisiana as New Orleans and coastal communities brace for what's expected to be the first hurricane of the season.
A hurricane warning was in effect along the Louisiana coast, and forecasters said the storm could make landfall as a hurricane by early Saturday.
But it's the storm's rains that are expected to pose a severe test of New Orleans' improved post-Katrina flood defenses. Barry could bring more than a foot and a half (0.5 meters) of rain to parts of the state as it moves slowly inland.
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